RTL-SDR Blog V4 dongle launched with Rafeal R828D tuner chip

RTL-SDR Blog V4 dongle

RTL-SDR has just launched the RTL-SDR Blog V4 dongle for software-defined radio (SDR) enthusiasts based on the Rafael R828D tuner chip with three switchable inputs instead of the R860 chip used in RTL-DSR Blog V3 dongle. The new model still features the Realtek RTL2832U demodulator found in all previous versions of the SDR USB dongles but adds basic input filtering, integrates an improved LDO for the power circuity leading to fewer heat emissions, and improves HF reception thanks to a built-in upconverter. The main RTL-SDR Blog V4 dongle improvements include: Improved HF Reception thanks to a built-in upconverter instead of using a direct sampling circuit. Some positive consequences are that there’s no more Nyquist folding of signals around 14.4 MHz, improved sensitivity, and adjustable gain on HF. Improved filtering thanks to the three inputs of the R828D tuner chip found in the V4 dongle. Three bands (HF, VHF, and UHF) […]

ALFA Network HaLow-U – An 802.11ah WiFi HaLow USB adapter supporting AP and STA mode

WiFi HaLow USB adapter

ALFA Network HaLow-U is an 802.11ah WiFi HaLow USB adapter based on the Newracom NRC7292 chipset and NXP i.MX 6 processor that works both in access point (AP) and client (STA) modes. It delivers long-range WiFi up to one kilometer in the 900 MHz frequency ISM bands and is mostly useful for IP cameras and high-end sensors. The ecosystem around WiFi HaLow (802.11ah) is expanding slowly, but surely, and we previously covered a mini PCIe card, a WiFi HaLow development board, and a gateway kit to extend the range of IP cameras, and also ALFA Network’s AHPI7292S Raspberry Pi HAT that found its way into RAKWireless WisGate Connect gateway. The new HaLow-U USB adapter adds another way to bring WiFi HaLow connectivity to more devices. HaLow-U specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX6 Arm Cortex-A9 processor System Memory – 256MB DDR3 Storage – 32MB NOR flash Connectivity 802.11ah HaLow Newracom NRC7292 chipset […]

Flipper Zero hardware & wireless hacking tool gets an app “store” with open-source app

Flipper Zero

Flipper Zero portable multi-tool for pentesters and hardware hackers has now gotten an app “store” with currently around 100 free and open-source apps available through the device’s Android or iOS app. I missed it at the time, but the Flipper Zero launched on Kickstarter in July 2020 and was massively popular with close to 5 million dollars raised from almost 38,000 backers. The tool looks like a toy but it allows hacking with GPIOs and short-range wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, RFID, NFC, and infrared. Flipper Zero specifications: Wireless MCU  – STMicro STM32WB55RG with Arm Cortex-M4 application core @ 64 MHz, Arm Cortex-M0+ network core @ 32 MHz, 1024 KB flash, 256KB SRAM Storage – MicroSD card slot up to 64GB Display – 1.4-inch monochrome LCD (black on orange background) with 128×64 resolution via ST7565R SPI display controller Connectivity Bluetooth 5 LE & 802.15.4 via STM32WB55 microcontroller Bluetooth LE – […]

LiFi 802.11bb standard uses light for in-room data transmission up to 224GB/s

LiFi 802.11bb

The 802.11bb WiFi-like standard, also called LiFi, was ratified in June 2023. It enables data transmission up to 224GB/s at a few meters range within a room using light instead of RF signals used in most other wireless standards. The technology has been worked on for many years, and we first covered (a version of) LiFi in 2014 that was still part of the IEEE 802.15 standard with speeds up to 1 Gbps. But the Light Communications 802.11bb Task Group was only formed in 2018 chaired by pureLiFi and supported by Fraunhofer HHI, and led to be ratification of the IEEE 802.11bb standard last month. In a typical LiFi setup, you’d have a LiFi-capable router connected to your local network and the Internet, a LiFi-enabled light bulb on a ceiling, and one or more LiFi receivers. From the end-user perspective, it would work like accessing a WiFi access point. We’re […]

Quansheng UV-K5 multiband radio gets experimental firmware to work in the 18 MHz – 1300 MHz bands

Quansheng UV-K5 multiband radio

Quansheng UV-K5, an inexpensive walkie-talkie/multiband radio that works in the 50 MHz to 600 MHz bands, has gotten an experimental firmware from the community that expands the range to 18 MHz to 1300 MHz, the maximum limits of the Beken BK4819 chip it is based on. The device is popular enough in the ham radio community that an unofficial blog has been created for it. The author explains that UV-K5 is better than other typical Chinese radios with “intuitive controls although the naming is a bit cryptic, and a nice crisp display”. He goes on to explain how to flash the firmware and reminds users they do this at their own risk in case they brick the device or break any regulations. The Quansheng UV-K5 supports the following bands with the stock firmware: F1: 50.0000-76.0000MHz (RX only) F2: 108-.0000-135.9750MHz (RX only) F3: 136.0000-173.9750MHz (TX and RX both) F4: 174.0000-349.9750MHz (RX […]

AntSDR E200 – Gigabit Ethernet connected SDR with Xilinx Zynq SoC FPGA supports 70 MHz – 6 GHz range (Crowdfunding)

AntSDR E200 SDR board

We’ve just written about the uSDR M.2 SDR module on Crowd Supply, but it turns out the crowdfunding platform is hosting another SDR (Software-Defined Radio) project with the AntSDR E200 board equipped with an AMD Embedded Zynq 7020 SoC FPGA and an Analog Devices AD9363 or AD9361 RF chipset, and providing Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the host. The board can operate in the 70 MHz – 6 GHz range with the AD9361 chipset, and the 325 MHz – 3.8 GHz range with the AD9363, supports 2×2 MIMO with two SMA antenna connectors and two U.FL connectors, and also features expansion interfaces for GPIOs. AntSDR E200 specifications: SoC FPGA – AMD Embedded/Xilinx Zynq 7020 dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 processor and FPGA with 85K logic cells, 4.9Mb Block RAM, 220 DSP slices System Memory – 512MB DDR3 Storage – 256 Mbit QSPI flash for firmware; microSD card slot (bottom side) RF Chipset – […]

NEWRACOM NRC7394 WiFi HaLow SoC delivers higher power efficiency and cost-effectiveness

Low cost WiFi Halow SoC

NEWRACOM has just introduced the NRC7394 Wi-Fi HaLow Arm Cortex-M3 SoC with higher power efficiency and lower cost than the previous generation NRC7292 Cortex-M3/M0 HaLow SoC and available in a 6x6mm package. I first wrote about the 802.11ah standard in 2014. Also known as the WiFi HaLow (consumers name), it operates in the 900 MHz band, offers a longer range and lower power consumption for items like IP cameras, and the first products came to market in 2021. I was expecting a flood of new WiFi HaLow devices in 2022 in my year 2021 round-up and it was not exactly a prescient prediction as it never happened. But maybe the new NRC7394 SoC will help make WiFi HaLow devices more popular by lowering the costs and further improving battery life. NEWRACOM NRC7394 key features: CPU – Arm Cortex-M3 core @ 32 MHz for IEEE 802.11ah WLAN and application Connectivity Full […]

Silicon Labs FG28 Sub-GHz wireless and 2.4 GHz BLE SoC supports Amazon Sidewalk, Wi-SUN, etc…

Silicon Labs FG28 block diagram

Silicon Labs dual-band FG28 Cortex-M33 SoC comes with sub-Gigahertz and 2.4 GHz Bluetooth LE radios that support long-range networks and protocols like Amazon Sidewalk, Wi-SUN, and other proprietary protocols, as well as a built-in AI/ML accelerator for machine learning inference and SiLabs Secure Vault technology. The chip looks to be an update to the sub-GHz FG25 Cortex-M33 microcontroller with an additional 2.4 GHz BLE radio, but somehow less program memory (up to 256KB) and storage (up to 1024 KB). The peripherals implemented in the chip are almost the same, as the microcontroller gains support for predictive maintenance with a small matrix vector processor for AI/ML acceleration. Silicon Labs FG28 (EFR32FG28) specifications: MCU core – Arm Cortex-M33 @ 78 MHz with DSP instructions and FPU On-chip memory – Up to 256 kB RAM data memory On-chip storage – Up to 1024 kB flash program memory AI accelerator – Matrix Vector Processor […]

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